[May 17, 2018] Occasionally you have to sit down and listen. That means keeping your questions and thoughts to yourself and keeping your ears open to what is said. Last night I was honored to hear Pete Fantacone, a U.S. Navy veteran who went in with the initial waves to Omaha Beach, Normandy France on the 6th of June, 1944 … D-Day.
Fantacone was part of the largest seaborne invasion in history on that day. He tells his story with spunk and a clear voice that comes from the knowledge that he did his duty. Part of a Coast Guard unit of 12 LCIs (Landing Craft, Infantry), he tells us he couldn’t see the beach and the carnage taking place from his position in LCI-492 but what he does remember is “smoke, smoke all over the place.”
He told me that the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard don’t get much credit for the D-Day landings, but their role was pivotal to the success of the operation. Much of what he says, he backs up with numbers and specific ship names; like the USS Arkansas and USS Oklahoma which laid down a massive barrage onto the shoreline to help protect the troops.
These seafaring services also transported the troops from the ships directly onto the shore; German 88mm tank fire or mines sank many. Each LCI made several trips back and forth under murderous fire. Fantacone tells me he believes that he credits his faith and good training for carrying him through the day.
“World War II was a good war because it was a war where you could see the differences.” What he is saying is that Nazi Germany was out for world conquest and the Allies were there to stop them.
Truly a special occasion for me to hear from this military veteran who was at a key point in one of the most famous battles in the 20th Century. Fantacone’s bravery is unquestionable. You can read more about him here (see link).